Morning

From the Story Arc: Bestla's Diary

Previous Story in the Arc: Teamwork by Bestla (Saturday, February 19, 2005)

(posted Sunday, February 12, 2006)

The dawn light woke Oksana. Kurt slept at her side like a log. Her mind crept back to their night-long celebration: she’d put him through the wringer after his tentative marriage… Suggestion? Recommendation? Either way, her heart glowed with love for him. Oksana Taylor, she mused. A horseback wedding to a cowboy hero. Haven’t I always dreamed of this moment, ever since I was a girl? Why do I feel reluctant?

The meditative thoughts made her restless. I ain’t no philosopher, that’s for sure. I reckon my heart will tell me what to do. Kurt makes me happier’n any other feller I’ve knocked boots with.

She rose to walk through the house, forsaking a robe for the cool, crisp feeling of the morning air on her skin. After a moment she found herself at her unwitting destination: the mantle, where Kurt kept photos spanning decades. His ma and pa, his brothers and sister – all but one passed on. A few glossies of movie star Kurt, looking young and eager. His youthful face stirred her insides but good – it was the face she saw in the half-light of lovemaking. The young Kurt was with her, after all.

Oksana set the photo frame back in its place and tip-toed back into their bathroom. She took a squat, humming the theme to Bonanza, and glanced around the lavishly furnished room. The shower had two heads for – for two heads, she reckoned, and many a pleasant pre-patrol morning they’d spent in that shower. The sink countertop had two sinks, his neatly arranged with soap and shave cream, hers a mess of make up, toothpicks and brushes. A small pill bottle, next to an empty water glass, caught her attention.

Nitroglycerin. Five a day, as needed for…

“Tarnation,” Oksana breathed. “Heart condition.”

Her mind raced back to their night of frolic. The last time she got him going, he seemed to be exerting himself more than usual. She’d been very vocal, full of love and excitement. What did she say? Oh Kurt, make me your cowgirl wife… can we have little house on prairie? When they were done, he fell right to sleep. She thought it was the heat of passion, but now…

“Kurt?” She flushed the toilet and stepped into the bedroom. She couldn’t swallow the lump in her throat. “Is morning, so wake up?”

She climbed into bed and shook his shoulder. Her blood froze: he was as cold as ice.

“Oh, pardner, nyet,” she said, rolling him over. Kurt Taylor, cowboy movie star, had the happiest smile on his face any dead man could want.